In business, role-playing is necessary and, in my opinion, not practiced enough. Would you rather be vulnerable with your sales team for a short amount of time or practice on a real customer who is looking to buy from you? If you work together with an entire sales team, it is crucial to be well-rehearsed with each other in your greeting, asking questions, listening, and closing the deal. Being willing to be constructively critiqued, show where your strengths are and where there is room for improvement makes for such a smoother sale when you deal with ‘real’ sales. The role-playing helps you slow down, take a moment to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and listen well. It helps you see your mistakes before you use them on an actual customer; it helps you serve your customer better and enables you to be a more confident provider. It allows the relationship between you and your customer to strengthen and grow.
Please don’t wait for your boss to ask you to role-play with the team (they may never ask!). Instead, pull a colleague aside and ask them to practice with you. At first, you may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, but that will fade with practice and time. As a result, you’ll both see your sales skills improve, and you’ll be better at closing deals. There’s nothing more confidence-boosting than that!
Tips for Role Playing:
-Do your best to eliminate “um” and “like” and other fillers people use in conversation. Eliminating these will help you sound much more confident. Often it is as simple as practicing to break the habit.
-Rehearse your greeting. How do you sound? What feedback does the person you are rehearsing with have? Do you repeat yourself? Do you stumble over your words?
-play with common answers and objections your customer may give (such as “too expensive, wants more information before deciding, already has a relationship with someone else,” etc.
-work on your listening skills. Sometimes you need to practice keeping your mouth shut. Practice hearing objections, and listen to understand, not to respond. Avoid interrupting your prospect while speaking, and give them space to voice their concerns. Often they will even talk themselves right into the sale!
Listen by repeating back what the prospect says to you, then give them space to talk more. This helps your potential customer feel heard and valued and leads to a trustworthy relationship.
Take notes. One of the best ways to listen is to be a note-taker. Listen, write and remember. Then you have so much information to return to, and it doesn’t rely on just your memory!
-ask open-ended questions. Yes/No questions don’t encourage conversation. Often this takes practice! Role-play and ask questions that allow you to keep the conversation going and collect information. The more information you have, the better chance you have of turning the sale in your favor.
Role-playing is powerful. Role-playing will prepare sales reps for whatever their customers throw at them. It makes for an agile sales team! You want to be stronger and more confident, right? The first step is not to be afraid to role play in a safe environment. Please don’t wait for the right time. Could you stop what you are doing and go for it?